KAMPALA, Uganda (AP):
Doctors were slow to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda because symptoms weren't always typical, but a World Health Organisation (WHO) official said last Friday that authorities are halting the spread of the deadly disease.
Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told reporters in the capital Kampala that everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims has been isolated. Ugandan health officials have created an "Ebola contact list" with names of people who had even the slightest contact with those who contracted Ebola. The list now bears 176 names.
"The structure put in place is more than adequate," Saweka said. "We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases."
Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers were dying in a remote corner of western Uganda. Ugandan officials were slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, such as coughing blood. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease.
Delays in confirming Ebola allowed the disease to spread to more villages deep in the western district of Kibaale, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said.
"The doctors in Kibaale say the symptoms were a bit atypical of Ebola," Museveni said in a national address last Monday.
"They were not clearly like Ebola symptoms. Because of that delay, the sickness spread to another village."
Saweka said that organisations such as Doctors Without Borders and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention are helping Ugandan officials to control the spread of Ebola.